International Rules and Institutions for Trade Policy

71 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2000 Last revised: 25 Jul 2021

See all articles by Robert W. Staiger

Robert W. Staiger

Stanford University; University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: December 1994

Abstract

What are the potential benefits from establishing international rules for the conduct of trade policy and how should these rules be designed? These questions are of central importance to the evolution of national trade policies in the post-war era, a period in which an elaborate system of international rules has evolved to facilitate the process of reciprocal trade liberalization. Yet the theory of trade policy has traditionally had little to say about these rules and the issues that underlie them. Below I review and synthesize several of the currents of a growing literature that is concerned with these questions. I attempt to accomplish three objectives: To describe the basic structure of international trade agreements as they exist in practice; to explore theoretically the normative consequences of actual and alternative trade agreements; and to offer some theoretically-based explanation for the structure of trade agreements that we observe. I attempt to achieve the first objective by describing the important features of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. I attempt to achieve the latter two objectives by reviewing a body of literature and drawing out its implications as they relate to these issues.

Suggested Citation

Staiger, Robert W., International Rules and Institutions for Trade Policy (December 1994). NBER Working Paper No. w4962, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=226561

Robert W. Staiger (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Economics ( email )

1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706
United States
608-262-2265 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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